For more than a quarter of a century, Acoustic Syndicate has been setting the pace for a style of music that fuses southern roots music, bluegrass, rock and roll and a healthy dose of improvisation in an approach that now permeates the American music scene. Hailed as a progenitor of and inspiration to generations of jam and jamgrass bands, the group has released seven albums and taken its distinctive, North Carolina-bred sound across the country more times than any of its members can recall. Now they embark on a new era of their storied career with their debut full-length studio release for Organic Records, All In Time. The album is now available for pre-order, add and save ahead of its July 15 release.
Comprised of three cousins — Steve “Big Daddy” McMurry on guitar and lead vocals, along with brothers Bryon McMurry (banjo, guitar, vocals) and Fitz McMurry (drums, vocals) — and longtime bassist Jay Sanders, Acoustic Syndicate’s music has grown organically, earning them a loyal following and appearances at memorable events such as Bonnaroo and Farm Aid. Says Paul Kerr of JamBase, “Their modern take on traditional bluegrass and rock values culminates in a glimmering, driving sound rich with acoustic textures and glowing vocals.”
All In Time expands on a set of successful, previously-released singles that ran the gamut from personal, emotive, self-written songs to a revealingly wide-ranging group of covers (the Grateful Dead’s “Bertha,” Lou Reed’s “Rock and Roll” and Willie Nelson’s “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground”).
Timely themes emerge throughout, describing the ebb and flow of life with messages of recognizing today’s struggles but keeping a hopeful eye on what could be. Bryon’s “Simple Dream” — the third single released from the album — is one of the songs that captures this idea.
“It’s somewhat of a plea for humanity, broken down to be as straightforward of a message as can be: Love. Love is better than hate,” says Bryon. “The music originally was much slower, written for a New Orleans project with tuba and banjo and other horns that is still in its infancy. The message, though, is simple, given the past few years of turmoil in this country and globally. The song is a plea for us to take a look at ourselves and those around us and try to bridge the gaps. I'm sure I’m naive in my thinking,” he concludes, “but it’s worth a try.”
The title track offers some more reflection, and Steve calls it one of the strongest songs to date.
“The words are just my account of needing to catch my breath. I have many character flaws. One of the worst is my perpetual propensity to commit myself to absolutely more than I can do on a daily basis. The job, the band, the farm, and until recently, aging parents… all of it,” says Steve. “Many are the days that I forget to just pause, look around, breathe the air, appreciate my surroundings, have gratitude, recognize the love that I have in my life and try to turn down the volume of living for a moment. ‘All In Time’ is also a reflective appreciation for something my dad, Joe, would say when the times of the world become frightening, chaotic and without direction, like they are now: ‘When things become uncertain like this…when the world seems like it’s out of control and we can’t help but be scared and anxious about the state of things…no matter how bad it gets, unless there is something we can do about it, we just have to have faith, be patient, keep on doing the best that we can…and trust that people will eventually do the right thing in the end.’”
As a whole, Acoustic Syndicate’s All In Time offers a rich musical portrait of long-time masters replanting their indie-roots fusion flag on the rapidly re-emerging musical terrain they helped to establish and influence over 25 years ago.
"Acoustic Syndicate has been making records since 1996. Speaking only for myself — and I’m sure that the others would agree — I can honestly say that the recording process for All In Time has been the most relaxed, stress free recording experience of my career,” says Steve. “I am grateful to Organic Records for this project, for believing in us and for the positivity and support of all of the Organic folks. Can't wait for the next one."
Pre-order, add or save All In Time HERE.